Rich Leaders and Learners

Tim SandersTim Sanders was the third speaker at the L2:Learn-Lead event on October 10, 2014.  Tim was the “Maverick CEO” of a company called NetMinds and is a former Yahoo executive and a noted author and speaker.
Tim’s emphasis was on People-Centric Tools for Leadership.  Here are some notes from his talk at L2.
  • Talking about purpose, he remembered a book he read titled Working the Room by Nick Morgan.  Nick said that the only reason for giving a speech was to change the world.
If you don’t want to change the world, then get off the stage. -Nick Morgan
  • Success is not a destination, it is a direction: FORWARD.

The Modern Leader Needs to be Able to Lead With

A Clear Mind

To Unclutter and Clear Your Mind

  1. Reduce your sources of information.  Own the first 45 minutes of your day and avoid email and social media.  Spend the time in devotion and reflecting on someone who helped you in the past and think of someone who will help you.
  2. Create a culture in the workplace that is upbeat and hopeful and action-oriented.  Remember that culture is a conversation about how we do things around here.
  3. A Clear Mind is an educated mind.  READ DAILY books and periodicals of significance that help you grow.
  4. Remember if you let your calendar get full you will be an ineffective leader.  You need time to think; to be curious.
Curiosity didn’t kill the cat, it killed the competition. -Sam Walton

A Creative Tendency

  • Most issues in a company are design issues, not people issues and need creative solutions
  • He has found that highly successful salespeople have creative projects within their life.
    • Creativity = Problem Solving
  • Make NEW mistakes
  • Trust people
  • Policy is the scar tissue of an organization.
If you have to rely on policy, you need a corporate cultural change.

A Compassionate Way

  • You can only effectively lead those you love.
  • Treat everyone like family
Mentorship is a program of highly effective leaders, not HR
  • Learn to listen without power – give empathy
What I like about Tim Sanders is that I believe he “gets it”.  Tim has learned that motivating through fear, dismissal, and non-emotional focus just doesn’t work for any extended period of time.  Either people burn out or they become totally disengaged.
Work is personal.
You can’t spend 1/3 or more of your day in one place and not have it be personal.  As a result, the rest of our lives are influenced by what happens at work and what happens at work is influenced by what’s happening in the rest of our lives.
If you want to create sustainable productivity and empowering employee engagement, as a leader you must spend time learning about your people.  Their hopes, their dreams, their fears.  You don’t have to solve their problems, in fact if you do then you are doing them a disservice; but you do have to know where they are and what’s going through their minds.
That’s how a modern leader achieves success.

What do you think?  Is there a “fine line” between relational leading and task-orientation?  What would be your two-word theme for how you lead?

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Leaders Open Doors

This past Friday, Oct. 10, was the inaugural L2:Learn-Lead event that was simulcast around the world.  I had the privilege as a Founding Partner in the John Maxwell Team to be a host for the one of the simulcast locations.  While many were in attendance, many could not make it or did not make it.  I wanted to share with you some of the great content and knowledge shared with us at this fantastic event.

John C. MaxwellJohn C. Maxwell was the first (and last) speaker.  In his first talk, he shared ideas from his new book Good Leaders Ask Great Questions.  Here are some bullet points I gleaned:

  • Leaders make great connections through questions
  • Leaders open doors through questions, sometimes doors that would not have opened any other way.
You are only a few questions away from achieving your dream!
  • Questions let you direct the conversation.

John Maxwell encouraged everyone to find great people who do what they want to do or are what they want to be.  He mentioned getting his start the same way and listed some questions for you to ask great people to truly learn from them.

  1. What is your greatest lesson?
  2. What are you learning now?
  3. What has been your greatest failure?
  4. Who do you know that I should know?
  5. What have you read lately?
  6. What have you done that I should do?
  7. How can I add value to you?

Learning to ask questions helps leaders get answers.  They help us to DISCOVER!  We discover the concerns others have, we discover what things they care about, what their dreams are.  When we know these things, we can help them grow and from that our influence grows.   Then we can lead them more effectively.

In the next post, I will outline some points from Linda Kaplan Thaler.  In part 3 it will be from Tim Sanders talk, and then finally in part 4 the second teaching by John Maxwell.

What are your thoughts about leaders and questions?  Have you used questions effectively?  What are some questions you ask consistently?

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Taking Work as it Comes

Opportunity Missed and Taken Green Road Sign Over Dramatic BlueWhen you work for yourself opportunities to earn money are precious.  Anyone who doesn’t think that way doesn’t last long in business for themselves.

The challenge comes in deciding what to take and what to refuse.  I have heard many advise to take everything, especially when money is tight.  One of the popular quotes cited lately by Richard Branson concerns opportunity:

If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!

The interpretation by many is to simply take every opportunity that comes along and then figure it out. Yet, that’s not really what Branson is saying here. You need to emphasize the word amazing in that; for it is the amazing opportunities we don’t want to pass up as they don’t come very often and are usually the launching points for greater things.

What’s an Amazing Opportunity?

How we define an amazing opportunity is what makes a difference.  An opportunity for steady work, or to increase our reach, or increase our income significantly is not necessarily an amazing opportunity; especially if it takes us into areas that don’t speak to our strengths.

[snaptweet]We are most significant when we embrace the amazing opportunities that utilize and challenge our strengths.[/snaptweet]

Anything else not only is second best, but threatens to compromise everything we have worked towards prior to that.

Saying No to the Amazing Opportunity

That doesn’t always make it easy.

Earlier this week, I was presented with an opportunity to lead training on a course in Social Media for Business.  I had nothing else income generating going that week in question and my first impulse was to say, “why not?”  It’s important to note that while I blog (as you can see here), have a Facebook fan page for both my company and for the L2:Learn-Lead Orlando simulcast event, post frequently on Twitter, have a LinkedIn page, and a Google+ page; I am not what you would call a “social media expert”.  It would have been a significant and sharp learning curve to overcome to be considered authoritative enough to teach a course on it.  It’s not my area of strength.

[snaptweet]I have a policy that I stick with what I am good at and try not to pretend to be good at something I’m not.[/snaptweet]

NO is sometimes the best answer

It speaks to my integrity with myself and others and to my core values.  I never want to present myself as an expert on something I’m not and just as important is I don’t want to spend my time trying to be good at something I’m not and neglect getting better at my areas of strength.

I turned the job down.  As I said, I’m not a social media expert but fortunately I know people who are.  So I was able to refer them to someone who was able to meet their needs and provided an “amazing opportunity” for someone else.

What are you doing now that you really shouldn’t be doing?  Is it in the wheelhouse of your strengths?  What amazing opportunities are out there for you?  What will you do to pursue them?  Comment below.

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